Friday 16 May 2014

Guest Post: Honey Bee Felt Busy Book

Ooh, look, another fab guest post! :)


Hi – I'm Monica from Marc’s Treasure Basket! I'm into all sorts of things that involve kids and creativity.  I'm working on creating an amazing space that has the best of kids, learning through play, creativity, DIY & yarning, where you’ll find all sorts of easy and fun activities and craft projects to do with and for your children! I've created my first Busy Book (with FREE patterns) and what better place to share, than Bugs & Fishes!

This Busy Bee Book is packed with everyday skills a preschool child needs to learn to become independent and confident. This isn't really a book, more like stack of cards. I did this for a few reasons. Firstly, this allows the pages to be separated so more than one kid can use it at a time (which always helps in a room full of kids). Secondly, if one of the pages gets ruined, fingers crossed it's the only that does! I also purposely made no loose pieces - it's like socks- where in the heck do they go and how do they get lost!!!!

This book has been a real pleasure to make. I did most of it by hand, which was a first for me and I truly found it very therapeutic!

The best way to enjoy early spring sunshine spilling through the window!!

What I used:
Six 8 x 8 inch Felt Squares and a pack of assorted coloured felt
Needle and assorted coloured thread
Hemline Pins
Fabric Glue
5.5mm and 8.7mm Eyelets
Small pair of Scissors
Soft Toy Filling
Cardboard (six 7 & 3/4 x 7 & 3/4 inch squares)
Black felt tip pen
Coloured Threading Laces (I found mine here)
Ribbon (black and yellow)
6 inch Separating Zipper
Sewing machine

Each page of the "book" is made by sandwiching a piece of cardboard between two slightly larger pieces of felt. Make sure you sew all the small pieces, buttons, etc on securely and supervise young children when they play with the book. 

Page 1: Flower Zipper

Once a child learns how to do their zip, life gets that much easier for everyone! This flower zip is a great way for children to understand and see the simple mechanics of how a zipper operates.

What I did:

I sewed the bee on first to the page then used a sewing machine to attach the zipper onto each side of the flower and to sew the pink and white sides of the flower together. I then glued the page to the cardboard and pinned the flower to the page and used the sewing machine to bind the pages (along with the flower) and cardboard together. Make sure that the reverse page is completely finished before binding it all together!

I then cut off the extra side of the flower to make the page square. If I had more time, I would have added sequins to the flower for a more textured look and feel.

Page 2: Letters and Sound

This is a great interactive way for kids to play around with letters and sound. Sticking with the Bee theme, I chose Wing, Bee, Hive and Flower. This is a simple but time consuming page.

What I did: 

Sew the letters onto the coloured squares first and then sew the squares onto the page. The 3D elements are all stuffed with soft toy filling and the ribbon is sewed into them.

When finished, I glued the ribbon onto the cardboard and then glued the page itself onto the cardboard. Use the sewing machine to bind the pages and cardboard together (when the reverse page is finished). Use Larger Eyelet holes and place one on the top left hand side of the page.

Top Tip: Pin the letters really well, felt likes to move around!!

Page 3: Button Flowers

This is a great activity for kids to gain dexterity and work on their problem solving skills. The ribbons are all different lengths and they all have a specific flower to land on!

What I did: The bees become the button holes on this page. I sewed each bee by hand, making sure to put the ribbon in before sewing it up, as well as making sure the ribbon is long enough to reach from the bee hive to the flower on the reverse. I then used the sewing machine to make the button hole.

The flowers have 3 layers. I sewed the bottom layer on first and then the other two (circles) on with the button.

Page 4: Hive Counting

I saw this and wanted to create my own version. This is a great way for kids to learn that numbers identify how many objects are in a set.

What I did:

I sewed on the hive with a black hive behind it - if made the hole bigger the kids could put the bees into the hive, but I sewed my "door" up. Make sure to tuck your ribbon in before you sew up the hive! Numbers can be placed around the hive and bees sewn next to the numbers.

When both pages are done glue them onto the cardboard and use the sewing machine to bind the pages and cardboard together. Used Larger Eyelet holes and place one on the top left hand side of the page.

Top Tip: Use a black felt tip pen to outline the hive to give it more definition.

Page 5 & 6: Threading Objects and Shapes

This is a great activity for colour matching, shape recognition, problem solving and dexterity.

What I did:

Sew on all the objects. I stuffed the clouds and forgot the flower stem (oops). Then make sure to line up the shapes on the opposite page and sew on the shapes.

Glue the pages down on the cardboard and use the sewing machine to bind them together. Use the smaller eyelets to make threading holes in each object/shape. Use Larger Eyelet holes and place one on the top left hand side of the page.

Top Tip: Cut little gaps where you want the threading to come out of (I did it at the bottom) and glue the thread into these gaps. Make sure the thread is the correct length to make it through both eyelet holes (some will be longer than others).

As I said before I truly enjoyed creating this book and I hope you enjoy the free patterns. I'd love to see photos of your completed work. This definitely won’t be my last Busy Book, so follow us at Marc’s Treasure Basket and watch this space!

Click on each pattern sheet to view it full size and print. 


Two Little Aussie Birds said...

I really love this idea and can imagine many hours of little fingers learning how to use the zip and buttons! Thank you for sharing :)

Flutterby said...

How clever, creative and awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. I know some lovely chubby fingers that would enjoy playing with this! Have to get busy as a bee now so buzzing off! :)

Alicia @ Felt With Love Designs said...

This is SO cute!! Love it!